China says GMO soy, corn yields up to 11.6% higher in large trials

Adds detail from statement, background

BEIJING, Aug 24 (Reuters) - China's farm ministry on Thursday said large trials of genetically modified corn and soybeans showed "outstanding" results and that application of the technology was completely safe.

China has not yet approved commercial planting of GMO corn and soybeans, but has been studying the crops for years, and this year significantly expanded the acreage of its pilot programme.

The trials in 20 counties in the provinces of Yunnan, Hebei, Inner Mongolia, Jilin, and Sichuan showed "outstanding" insect resistance and herbicide resistance, said the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs.

The control of Lepidoptera pests such as Spodoptera frugiperda, also known as fall armyworm, was over 90%, it said, while 95% of weeds were prevented.

It also said the yields were up by between 5.6% and 11.6%.

The information, published in the state-owned Farmers Daily newspaper and on the ministry's website, also addressed questions about safety, apparently in an attempt to soothe concerns of the general public.

(Reporting by Dominique Patton; Editing by Christopher Cushing and Shri Navaratnam)


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